Getting Sleep is Getting Harder

The switch from 9 a.m. back to 8 a.m. and its effects on the St. Ignatius community

Erika Lenhardt '23

Recently, St. Ignatius has made a change that caused discontent amongst students: changing the start time from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. The resulting one hour less of sleep was disliked  by many, which brings up the question: does this one hour less of sleep harm the community’s physical needs? 

First off, there is a difference between the amount of sleep and the quality of sleep one gets. Just because one gets some number of hours does not guarantee that that person optimally goes through the four stages of sleep: NREM Stage 1, NREM Stage 2, NREM Stage 3, and REM. 

NREM Stage 1 is the transition period from wakefulness to sleep. The brain slows down along with the heartbeat and breathing, relaxing the body. 

NREM Stage 2 is where the body temperature drops and sleep spindles (rhythmic brain waves) are burst throughout the brain. These spindles make the brain process and gather the memories that were acquired the previous day. 

NREM Stage 3 is considered the deep sleep stage, where the body repairs, restores, and rests for the coming day. More memories of facts and personal experiences are also gathered. 

Finally, in REM, muscles become immobilized and the body is temporarily paralyzed – in a good way. People dream in this stage, and the brain’s activity most closely resembles its activity during waking hours, and emotional memories are processed. 

These four stages occur repeatedly during the night, with each stage having different durations. Each stage is necessary to restore mental and physical needs for the next day. As a result, without diligently getting the four stages of sleep, students and faculty cannot function as well. 

However, the St. Ignatius community can achieve a good night’s rest by meeting the recommended number of hours of sleep. These hours take into consideration the four stages of sleep, where 6 to 11 hours is appropriate for young adults and 6 to 10 hours is appropriate for full adults. To achieve the bare minimum of 6 hours of sleep, sleeping earlier to reach that goal is necessary. 

The switch from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m is not convenient for people since they cannot stay up as late when more responsibilities are often handled. 

Though the St. Ignatius community must be more aware of their physical and mental needs, on a positive note, people can see their friends at school for one extra hour.